Former Group Managing Director, Polaris Bank Limited, Mr. Tokunbo Abiru, who retired from the bank on August 31, and Obafemi Saheed have emerged as All Progressives Congress, APC’s consensus candidate for Lagos East Senatorial District and Kosofe 2 House of Assembly October by-elections in the state.
The candidates emerged after all registered party members in Lagos East and Kosofe ratified their candidature through direct primary election, held on Thursday in compliance with the requirements of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.
The bye-elections in Lagos East Senatorial District and Kosofe 2 are scheduled to hold on October 31.
At the by-election, which was by affirmation, the Chief Returning Officer, Ibrahim Masari, announced that Tokunbo Abiru recorded a total vote of 111,551 votes only from the returned votes from the five local governments— Epe, Ibeju-Lekki, Ikorodu, Kosofe and Somolu— that make up the senatorial district covering 71 wards.
Obafemi Saheed scored a total of 34,012 votes only from the six wards that make up Kosofe 2 constituency.
Lagos APC Publicity Secretary, Seye Oladejo, said: “With the emergence of our candidates, all is now set for APC to contest and retain the respective legislative seats.”
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Recall that the Lagos East Senatorial District and Kosofe II State Constituency seats became vacant following deaths of Senator Bayo Oshinowo and Tunde Buraimoh, who died of COVID-19 complications in June and July, respectively.
Earlier, all aspirants seeking senatorial nomination in Lagos East on the platform of APC, have withdrawn from the race in support of Abiru.
The aspirants that withdrew from the senatorial contest were Vice Chairman, Lagos APC, Chief Kaoli Olusanya; a former Lagos State Head of Service, Mr. Segun Ogunlewe, and a former Commissioner for Physical Planning & Urban Development, Mr. Rotimi Ogunleye.
A former General Manager/Permanent Secretary, Lagos Television, Mr. Lekan Ogunbanwo; a former member of the State House of Assembly, Olanrewaju Odesanya, and Chairman, Ikorodu-Oga Development Association, Chief Olusegun Abiru, also stepped down from the race.
In their separate accounts, the aspirants agreed to support Abiru’s senatorial aspiration due to what they ascribed to the need for APC to conduct direct primaries free of acrimony and ensure harmony among all that aspirants that indicated interest in the senatorial seat.
Olusanya explained his decision to withdraw his senatorial aspiration was in the overall interest of Lagos APC and to allow a candidate emerge from the primary election without internal conflict, which he said, could polarise Lagos APC.
He said: “I have to step back and allow someone else to take on the task of representing our senatorial district at this time, for some reasons that seriously have to do with the larger interest of our dear state and our great party.”
Apart from the aspirants that supported his senatorial nomination, Abiru has secured the support of the Governor Advisory Council, GAC, the highest making organ of the party in the state ahead of the direct primary election.
Among others, the Council comprises the APC National Leader, Senator Bola Tinubu; Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Chairman, Lagos APC, Alhaji Babatunde Balogun; his Deputy, Chief Sunny Ajose, all previous governors of the state and all serving vice-chairmen of the party.
Also, all members of Lagos State House of Assembly and members of the National Assembly from Lagos State had earlier expressed support for the candidacy of Abiru.
At a consultation meeting with the lawmakers on Tuesday, Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, assured Abiru that all members of the assembly would deploy their campaign structure to canvass votes for the senatorial aspirant.
“At this time, this is the quality we need in politics to make the much-needed change in our political system.
“This is the time we need people with integrity to come into politics and change the erroneous perspective of the people,” Obasa stated.